Watercolor was the ideal medium for the late nineteenth-century landscape painter Thomas Moran, a follower of the British painter J. M. W. Turner who was drawn to dramatic natural features in places such as Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. In this view of the lagoon and central buildings constructed for the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893—an extravagant, nationalistic salute to the westward advance of “civilization”—Moran bathed the scene in the glowing colors of a vivid sunset and violet shadows that might have seemed extreme if rendered in oils.
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Thomas Moran (American, 1837-1926). Chicago World's Fair, 1894. Transparent watercolor with opaque white highlights and graphite on cream, moderately thick, moderately textured wove paper, 29 x 21 9/16 in. (73.7 x 54.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of Clara L. Obrig, 31.194
Bequest of Clara L. Obrig
29 x 21 9/16 in. (73.7 x 54.8 cm); Frame: 33 1/2 x 26 x 2 3/4 in. (85.1 x 66 x 7 cm)
Transparent watercolor with opaque white highlights and graphite on cream, moderately thick, moderately textured wove paper